How many times have we seen someone start right and end wrong throughout the history of Israel, of mankind? Without doubt, the number would be significant. We read here that Jehoash, Joash from the previous chapter, “did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him”; which ultimately refers to the priest’s death. Jehoash become so corrupt, he reintroduced the people to idolatry and led the way.
In the early part of his life, we see that the king observed the temple was in disrepair and was in dire need restoration; which he ordered to happen. After twenty three years, nothing had happened, and he ordered that the priests complete the work and take no more money from the people. Jehoiada oversaw this process; yet doesn’t appear to have been very diligent in seeing that the project was completed.
Ministers need to be ethical in dealing with their commitments; especially when those deal with finances in any way.
If we promise to do something, then we need to have integrity to do as we’ve said. If we can’t fulfill it on our own, don’t make a promise. Likewise, don’t make a promise on behalf of a team or congregation if you don’t have the authority or knowledge that which has been promised can be fulfilled. One simple place I’ve learned this lesson is in making commitments for my wife before checking with her as her schedule and number of commitments she may already have.
We find that Jehoiada placed a “chest” with a bored hole on top and set next to the altar and later was relocated outside the temple doors to more people an opportunity to give toward the restoration fund. When the chest filled up, the money would be counted and then used to purchase equipment and supplies for the priest to restore the temple. Joash attempted to replicate all the intricacies of the temple
Not only had these priests not done what they had committed to do, they were pilfering the money for the project and pocketing it for themselves. Not only does that show a lack of integrity, it’s illegal. What an indictment toward the ministry of that day and to ours as well; with the exceptions of “basins of silver, trimmers, sprinkling-bowls, trumpets, any articles of gold or articles of silver”. What is ironic, is the priest who didn’t “require an account” of the funds that would be used for restoration, because the workers were men of integrity and didn’t overcharge or unilaterally put down hours they didn’t work.
We see that this king who started right because Jehoiada was working with Joash; yet turned back to idolatry. The result was Joash being killed by conspirators from Judah, specifically two of his choice servants (Jozachar and Jehozabad) and the nation, by Hazael, were being placed under siege to bring them under the rule of Syria.
A tragic end for one started out righteously and then died such a deplorable unrighteous man; all because he didn’t have spiritual father any longer in his life when Jehoiada died.